Commercial fire alarm systems are essential for protecting employees, customers, merchandise, and property in the event of a fire. These sophisticated systems are designed to detect the presence of fire (heat and/or smoke) and notify the occupants of the building so they can evacuate safely.
In addition to being an essential safety feature, Massachusetts fire code also requires monitored fire alarm systems for all commercial properties.
Fire alarm systems consist of several different components that work together to ensure a swift and effective response in the event of a fire. The system may be simple or complex, depending on the size of your building and the nature of your business. Working with an experienced alarm provider is essential for ensuring your system best suits your unique needs.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at the components of a fire alarm system and how each of them works together to keep your commercial property safe when a fire breaks out.
Alarm Initiating Devices
There are several different types of alarm initiating devices that are both automatic and manual. These include:
- Smoke detectors
- Heat detectors
- Beam detectors
- Duct detectors
- Tamper switches
- Fire sprinkler water flow switches
- Manual alarm pulls
Each of these devices is designed to sense or respond to the presence of fire and sound an alarm so building occupants can vacate. When triggered, these devices initiate an alarm through a fire alarm notification device and send a notification to the Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP)
Fire Alarm Notification Devices
Fire alarm notification devices use visual and audible alarms to alert people to a fire. They often use strobe or flashing lights and loud ringing sounds. Some systems may also use an automated spoken alert.
Low frequency sounders are needed near bedrooms for proper DB level at pillow level in apartment/condo building settings.
Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP)
The FACP is the heart of a commercial fire alarm system. The physical components of your fire alarm system, including alarm initiating devices and notification devices and your sprinkler systems, are hardwired to your FACP. This panel also connects to a backup power supply and hardwired to the telephone system to ensure it can send and receive alerts at all times.
The FACP has a display where you can check the status of your fire alarm system. For large systems with multiple zones, you will be able to see where the fire alarm originated. When an alarm is triggered, the FACP will automatically send a signal to Central Station so they can dispatch an emergency response team.
Backup Power Supply
A backup power supply ensures that your fire alarm system continues to function even if the power goes out. These consist of battery packs that will supply power to your FACP for up to 24 hours.
Building Safety Interface
Depending on the design of the system, your commercial fire alarm may integrate with your building safety interface. This enables a fire alarm to control certain aspects of the building. It may cause certain doors to open or close in order to facilitate escape or control the spread of the fire. It could also control elevator movement, airflow within the building, and more.
The Bottom Line
Commercial fire alarm systems are an essential safety feature. They should suit the layout of your building and your operational needs. American Alarm’s fire sales consultants can work with you to create a professional fire alarm system that is fully up to code. We also offer regular testing, service, and inspection to ensure that your system is always functioning correctly.
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